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Stratford still missing out on vital recovery money say opposition councillors

VITAL funding to help Stratford recover from the pandemic is still being missed, according to opposition councillors.

SDC (45521442)
SDC (45521442)

At a recent meeting of Stratford District Council's cabinet, Lib Dem leader Cllr Susan Juned questioned why Stratford had not been considered for several new sources of government funding.

Pointing out the recently announced levelling-up and community renewal funds nationally, Cllr Juned drew attention to Richmond in Yorkshire – the chancellor’s constituency – which has won priority status for funding.

She said Richmondshire was a prosperous area but got its funding based on the impact of the pandemic on its hospitality and tourism sector. Given that Stratford’s tourist industry has suffered greatly over the past year, Cllr Juned suggested the town should also have been considered for extra money.

A national study has concluded that Stratford’s economy was predicted to be the fourth worst hit in the country because of its reliance on tourism.

Cllr Juned said: “'All these funding awards involve bidding for money by councils. In the recent council budget meeting I proposed that Stratford invest in a new senior position, charged with preparing bids for government and other funding.

“Unfortunately the Conservatives rejected the proposal, but I fear that unless action is taken this district will continue to miss out on significant government funding streams that are now going to other areas.”

Council leader Cllr Tony Jefferson said the authority was currently looking into a submission for extra government funding and the council would not be considering a dedicated officer as funding bids came in all shapes and sizes and one individual may not fit all the requirements.

In December, neighbouring towns including prosperous Leamington received millions of pounds from the future high streets fund. Stratford did not even apply. At the time Cllr Jefferson said Stratford was told it did not meet the criteria when the fund was announced.

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